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microfluidics

ferrules

 

These PTFE devices are used to provide secure connections between chips or to connect a chip to a manifold or other macro device, such as a fluid adapter plate.

  • Range of options for forming compliant seal.
  • Range of options for applying sealing load.
  • Compatible with conventional means of reversible quick connection, semi or permanent connection.

Key features and benefits:

  • Compact = dense packing of connections with minimum dead space (1.6mm OD, 0.55-1.3mm ID, pitch 2mm)
  • Inexpensive
  • Capable of handling pressures up to 130 bar
  • Can be supplied captive (i.e. integrated within a chip)
  • Virtually zero dead volume, ideal for use with very small sample volumes
  • Re-usable up to 600 times (number of connects / disconnects)
  • Self aligning and tolerant to mis-alignment
  • Can also be used as an alignment device
  • Suitable for use with insertions such as thermocouples, reference electrodes, pH sensors
  • Also suitable for use in making pneumatic connections
  • Quick seal and reseal

In a typical configuration, a lower chip acts as a distribution board or manifold, where the upper chip provides processing functionality. Changing one functional chip with another is a very quick process that enables rapid optimisation of the microfluidic process. The sealing PTFE ferrule can be a separate component or captive within the chip.

The load required to form the fluid seal is applied either via a threaded dowel and a screw or with a mechanical clamp. Under normal circumstances, threaded dowels are pre-fitted, so in order to assemble a new functional chip, the user simply places ferrules where required, and tightens a thumbscrew. The threaded dowel also serves to facilitate alignment. The pitch of the connection ports together with the mounting hole spacing are designed to provide further means for chip alignment, as well as fluid port interconnection and simple mounting – all in a single assembly operation.

In the illustration, the lower chip provides fluid distribution and the means for connecting to peripheral equipment, whereas the upper chip functions by mixing the two input streams and passing the mixed output back to the lower chip.

The ferrule can be positioned to enable edge or right angle connection:

  • Captured / fixed in board or chip
  • Plug in ferrule to either side of connection (e.g. fixed into a detector chip)
  • Optical
  • Accoustic

Applications of ferrule connectors for fluid INPUT (liquid – liquid, gas – gas, liquid – gas, gas – liquid):

  • Direct fluid coupling – pipe/ tube to board / chip
  • Indirect fluid coupling
    • Chip to manifold / board
    • Multiple layers indirectly coupled
    • Septum to board
    • Valve to board
    • Gas to diaphragm valve in-board
    • External micropump to board
    • Syringe to board
    • Sample / reagents reservoir to board
    • Applications of ferrule connectors for fluid OUTPUT (liquid – liquid, gas – gas, liquid – gas, gas – liquid)
  • Board – pipe / tube
  • Manifold – chip
  • Board – detector
  • Board – waste
  • Detector – waste
  • Chip – reservoir

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